President Pahor on first official visit of Indian President to Slovenia: an opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries

Ljubljana, 16. 9. 2019 | press release

Today and tomorrow, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and Ms Tanja Pečar are hosting the President of the Republic of India, Ram Nath Kovind, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia, accompanied by his spouse Savita Kovind. This being the first visit of the President of India to Slovenia, it is an excellent opportunity to further advance the good relations between the two countries and to strengthen political dialogue and economic collaboration.

Following an official reception with military honours in Congress Square in Ljubljana, the President of India laid a wreath at the Monument to All Victims of Wars and War-Related Victims. The Indian and Slovenian presidents then held a one-on-one meeting, followed by plenary talks between the delegations of their two countries, which the presidents led.

President Pahor on first official visit of Indian President to Slovenia: an opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

In their talks, the two emphasised the positive and friendly relations between Slovenia and India and called for cooperation to be strengthened in all areas. In particular, President Pahor stressed the importance of the visit by the leader of the largest democracy in the world and congratulated India’s president for his country’s democratic achievements in its 70 years of independence. According to President Pahor, it filled one with hope that it was possible to resolve all major issues of modern humanity with democracy and in a democratic manner.

He emphasised that Slovenia and India had a long history of good relations, this going back to before Slovenia’s independence. Both presidents stressed the importance of strengthening economic relations between the two countries and expressed great satisfaction with the fact that economic trade amounted to nearly 500 million euros, recording a 30% growth. President Pahor was pleased to note that, despite their differences and geographical distance, the countries had a mutual interest in economic cooperation that was another very important element of good political relations.

Mr Pahor and his Indian counterpart touched upon bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Slovenia and India. They affirmed their commitment to multilateralism, agreeing that it represented a safe space for resolving the most sensitive issues and the most important challenges that await us in the future, such as climate change and terrorism. According to Mr Pahor, the topic of terrorism came into particular focus in their one-on-one talk when they exchanged views on the situation in Kashmir.

The two presidents also discussed the challenges of sustainable development, Mr Kovind congratulating Slovenia on its success in declaring 20 May World Bee Day. Mr Kovind also called for even closer cooperation in tourism and the film industry.

On the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, being commemorated by India and the rest of the world in October, President Pahor said that he believed Gandhi’s messages of tolerance and peace to be of lasting and universal value.

He accepted Mr Kovind’s invitation to visit India, saying that he was looking forward to visiting the country again.

Several agreements and memorandums were signed today in the presence of both presidents as part of the official visit: the Programme of Cooperation in Culture, Art, Education, Sport and Media between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of India for the Period 2019–2024, the Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of India for the Period 2020–2022, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Sports between the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of India, and the Programme of Cooperation between the Slovenian Institute for Standardisation and the Bureau of Indian Standards on Technical Cooperation in Standardisation. The following documents were also signed during the official visit: the Memorandum of Understanding between SPIRIT Slovenia and Invest India, the Memorandum of Understanding between Vodno-gospodarski biro Maribor and India’s Kanpur Institute of Technology regarding cooperation on the project to revitalise the River Ganges, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Centre of Excellence Vesolje.si and India’s Kanpur Institute of Technology regarding cooperation on the project to revitalise the River Ganges.

Also on this occasion, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS) held a business forum for members of the Indian economic delegation and the interested representatives of Slovenian companies, with opening addresses by the two presidents.

Today, the President of Slovenia and the President of India will unveil a friendship bench that will stand outside the headquarters of the International Centre for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE) in the Park of Friendship (Park prijateljstva), symbolising the good cooperation between Slovenia and India.

As part of the official visit, President Pahor and Ms Pečar will host a gala dinner in the Presidential Palace, with President Kovind and Ms Savita Kovind as guests of honour.

President Pahor on first official visit of Indian President to Slovenia: an opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

President Pahor on first official visit of Indian President to Slovenia: an opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA